SAN ANTONIO — Here in Texas not wearing a mask in public could net you a $250 fine, so, many people are turning to homemade masks to protect themselves and others.
So many different kinds of masks, like a cotton patriotic one, one made using a bandana, a southwestern-themed mask made out of jersey fabric, and even a double stitched mask with a pouch. But which one will give you the most protection?
"Cloth masks and homemade masks do provide some protection as long as you have some type of filter material inside of that cloth mask," said Tommye Austin who is a Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive for the University Health System.
Austin said the higher the filtration efficiency the better. "Cloth masks sometimes have a 40% to 50% filtration efficiency alone, so you want to get as close to the 90% filtration efficiency to give you some protection."
Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist with the University Health System says the thicker the mask the better.
He said, "Some that are sheerer like bandannas could be less effective, so if you use a bandanna you might want to have a double fold or more to try to provide some added protection."
Austin added, "You need to have that extra layer of protection unless you just want it to help you protect you from coughing on individuals, but with everything that's going on I would have some type of layer protection in my mask."
Austin recommends using AC filter material that has a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of at least 13; the higher the number the more effective.
And make sure there's no fiberglass. Austin said, "What you do is you cut that filter material out of the frame and cut it to fit your mask and voila. Take two layers of that and you've got yourself a pretty good mask."
For more information about family health call 210-358-3045.